Today's remarkable auction is a doozy, Cyborg for the Apple II, Softsmith Software version. Why is it a doozy? Because the Softsmith Software version was the budget-packaged re-release of the Sentient Software original, and it sold for an amazing $157.50, plus shipping and handling. The original Cyborg, from computer game pioneer and sci-fi author Michael Berlyn (also of Infocom fame) and published through the Sentient Software (both of whom also did the more famous, Oo-Topos, which I personally own, which also had a later re-release (and update) through another publisher), was released in 1981 for the Apple II. An Atari 8-bit version followed in 1982, as well as a Commodore 64 version. Cyborg is a science fiction text adventure game in which an artificial intelligence is electronically merged with your body as the result of a scientific experiment. Your mission is to find a source of energy to keep you alive. The game uses a text parser, except for character interaction, during which you choose a question from a predetermined list.
In any case, at some point Softsmith Software got the rights and, apparently without Berlyn's knowledge (and, obviously, consent), created a PC DOS version that, amazingly, had compatibility issues with most true PC's (see the trivia section, here). Though not shown on the Mobygames Website, there was in fact an updated Macintosh version that Berlyn mentioned that was published through Broderbund, shown here. As you can tell and what I find appalling about the final sale price, the Softsmith Software version was packaged in that company's usual generic boxes in as lazy a manner as possible (though of course, even the original version of the game was just a folder with some instructions, but at least a colorful folder with actual artwork). To me, that throws any significant value right out the window, but of course, to us collector's, that's often irrelevant to the end goal of possession.
It's Michael Berlyn, not Marc.
...if it was the IBM version, since that version is so incredibly rare. (I wonder how many copies are out there.) But why would anyone pay so much for the Apple Softsmith version???
Thanks, I fixed the typo. As for the why of the auction, I have no clue. As I hinted at in the blog post, I simply have no clue as to why this particular version would sell for so much. Being a major collector myself, I'm usually well-versed in the values, but this one definitely eludes me...